Some people will choose to purchase exotic or "wild" animals even when it is illegal to do so. One of the reasons why some animals are illegal to keep as pets is that they can be dangerous and may injure others if the owner loses control of the exotic animal. If you are injured by a wild pet, you should contact a personal injury attorney promptly.
What Is an Exotic Animal?
Whether an animal is considered exotic or not can depend on the state in which you reside. Usually, it includes animals that are not domesticated and are usually only found in the wild. If a wild animal engages in a behavior that is expected of the animal, the owner is then considered responsible for the injury because the animal cannot be tamed.
First, you must show that the owner had control of the animal. For example, if the owner legally owns the animal and someone lets it out of a secure cage, the owner may not be responsible for any injuries because the owner did not currently have control over the animal.
If the animal is kept in an enclosure, the property owner must construct the enclosure in a manner that is secure and that the animal will not be able to escape from. If the animal does escape, the owner may be responsible for any injuries that result.
What Is a Dangerous Animal?
If the animal is part of a species that is known for being dangerous, it would be a dangerous animal. Also, animals that are members of species that aren't violent may still be considered dangerous if they have histories of violence.
The Type of Injury
After the animal bites, claws, or otherwise injures you, the owner would be liable for any medical expenses and possibly non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. However, in some states, the owner may be liable even if you are startled by the animal and fall and sprain your ankle.
Wild Animal Attacks on Private Property
Regardless of whether or not a property owner owns the wild animal, she is responsible for warning anyone who enters the property of the potential danger. For example, if there are alligators nearby, the property owner may need to put up a sign that says "beware of alligators" even if the animal doesn't belong to the property owner. If you're not sure whether the property owner is liable for a wild animal attack, speak with a personal injury lawyer.